The music system being offered here is called System 50:50.
The duration of the piece is agreed before the start of the performance..
A performer must play for 50% of the duration of the piece and remain silent for 50% of the duration of the piece
Example; if the duration of the piece is 16 minutes, the performer plays for 8 minutes and is silent for 8 mins. Each player is free to choose when they play and when they are silent within the duration of the piece but they must have a 50/50 balance between playing and being silent. It is expected that each player will improvise their music.
Quick summary using 50:50 ratio
Each player `improvises` for 50% of the piece
Each player is `tacet` for 50% of the piece
The totals are aggregated
Each player/improviser has their own clock and manages their own time
Each player has `agency` over the content they share during the performance.
Delivered by the primary and preferred time management option:
Mechanical chess clocks are required to facilitate the aim of the system. One of the pair of dials is called ‘tacet’ and the other ‘free play’.See image above. Each performer has an individual chess clock to monitor and manage their contribution. The performer plays when the ‘free play’ dial is running down and is silent when the ‘tacet’ dial is running down.
Youtube demonstration, Duration 1 minute Ratio 50:50 or 1:1 Content, is speech, status managed by the rocker (lever): URL LINK
Link to image of an adapted chess clock URL LINK
The system was originally devised or created for use in workshops and for large ensembles playing free improvised music. The system can be used for ensembles of any size, and with any duration. The simplicity of the system management device ‘the adapted chess clock’ enables the delivery of a wide range of outcomes from the simple to the complex.
- Blank Canvas 50:50 Octet, Liverpool & Manchester versions.
- Ad hoc small ensembles
- Workshop and conference opportunities.
Selected feedback about system 50:50
System 50/50 works well - it’s a really good way to get a group to play effectively without egos , virtuosity , and shyness getting in the way. It is democratic, inclusive. coherent, leaderless, focused, there is room to think and time to listen, choices. It is less competitive more cooperative. Ends well. Simon Ross (Macclesfield), Blank Canvas Octet - Liverpool
On system 50:50 “Definitely something with LOADS of possibilities - the reaction in the car driving back was unbelievably positive - no one could remember playing in a large ensemble that was so "open". The openness allowed me to play quietly, which meant the dynamics were incredible for an improvising large ensemble.” - Charlie Collins Sheffield
Dan Goren, Oxford Improvisers. `"It seems to me that any attempt to restrict what free improvisers play, presents a threat to the core nature of their music. Generally, 'To play or not play' is about as far as any predetermination can productively go, the player retaining (almost!) complete formal agency regarding when and what (s)he decides to play"
Richard Harding Liverpool. ``Sometimes in free improv it is just not working but we carry on in the hope it will get better, in system 50:50 if it (free improv) is not working one can select tacet and stop playing`
Jon Aveyard, Lecturer UCLan University. `It gives me permission to do nothing`
Helen Conning, Liverpool. It is democratic
Phil Morton has twenty adapted chess clocks which are available to interested parties. System 50:50 is managed by praxis : arts and System 50:50 has access to the resources of praxis : arts.
What happens next: To express an interest: complete the form below or Contact Phil Morton: firstname.lastname@example.org : UK: mobile 07999518582
With thanks to:
Phil Morton has worked on this concept for some time - 10 years - but he acknowledges with thanks the recent input from the following: Martin Hacket (Oxford Improvisers), Robin Hartwell (Liverpool ) and the Centrifuge wiki-network (North).
P Morton: May 2017